10 Key Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Security Dealer Program
Shopping for a dealer program to access advantages like sales & marketing muscle, co-op funding, dedicated tech support and more? Ask these 10 questions before making your decision. Also included is a dealer directory.
Dealer programs have been around for years, after emerging fast and furious in the 1990s in response to the boom in residential alarm sales. Myriad more programs have been introduced from the likes of manufacturers, financing companies and monitoring centers, and range in breadth and scope.
It can be daunting for security pros to vet the program that may be best suited — if any — to their business goals and model. Some programs aim to buy and sell accounts. Some tout their marketing and sales muscle. Others boast the training support they provide. Some do all of this and more; then again, some don’t.
Where does a dealer start? As is the case with any partnership, compatibility is critical. You need to take well thought-out steps to find dealer program success.
What are your “must haves”? Perhaps most important is asking the right questions in order to come up with the right answers. To help in your quest to find the right match, SSI has crafted 10 key questions to consider and enlisted six leading program providers representing a cross-section of the security industry (even one in the A/V integration adjacency) to answer with examples of the wide-ranging benefits and scenarios you’ll encounter.
Onboard are panelists Paul Garms, director of regional marketing – intrusion, Bosch Security Systems; Jennifer Marshall, marketing & communications manager, Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS);Bob Gallup, COO, and April Maloney, dealer program director, Guardian Protection Services; Quentin Gunther, leader Honeywell Authorized Dealer Program; Travis Miller, director of dealer sales and development, MONI Authorized Dealer Program; Brad Page, sales & marketing manager, Russound; and Hank Groff, senior vice president of sales & marketing, Dynamark Security Center.
Also, learn where you can find more information on these and other companies’ dealer programs in the accompanying dealer program directory.
1) When did your company launch its dealer program & 2) how many dealers are part of the program?
Bosch: Our recently revamped Bosch Authorized Security Dealer [BASD] Program launched in October 2016. This premier partner program is designed to support loyal Bosch Security dealers who achieve a certain sales threshold and commit to lead with Bosch in their regional market. It is an invitation-only program with about 10% of dealers enrolled. There are currently over 100 participating dealers.
CMS: CMS was founded in 1978 and has been providing wholesale security monitoring to dealers since that time. CMS serves just over 3,000 dealers.
Guardian: Guardian launched its authorized dealer program in 1995. It has 25 participating dealers. We get a lot of applicants but we are selective in our choice, which helps to keep both us and the dealer successful.
Honeywell: The Honeywell Authorized Dealer program began in 1991 when it was known as the First Alert Professional program, a part of ADEMCO, a Pittway company. When Pittway Corp. was acquired by Honeywell in 1999, the program continued to grow. In 2008, Honeywell expanded the program to include commercial dealers, who were a part of a separate program called Commercial Security Systems (CSS). In 2014, the First Alert Professional and CSS dealer programs were combined to form the Honeywell Authorized Dealer program. Over 300 companies across the U.S., Canada and Latin America are a part of the program.
MONI: The dealer program launched in 1994. Today the MONI Authorized Dealer Program has 600+ dealers.
Russound: The Russound Certified Installer (RCI) Program was launched in 2015 to provide the best possible product and installation experience to our consumers.
Dynamark: We have two programs: Our wholesale dealer program (launched in 2011) and our authorized partner funding program (launched in 2014). The wholesale program has 520 dealers, and the authorized funding program has 15 partners.
3) What are some highlights or differentiations from others?
Bosch: At the heart of the BASD program is our unique Marketing on Demand Center, an online portal that offers dealers access to a variety of business-building tools and is linked with co-op marketing funds. This program gives our premier dealers exclusive access to a supportive platform of preapproved, co-branded marketing tactics, along with the ability to instantly apply co-op funds to orders. BASDs are offered production and fulfillment support so they can focus on selling to the leads they generate from their marketing campaigns.
CMS: Our training program includes a six-week live training course and three weeks of hands-on training under a trainer’s supervision. Also in 2016 we implemented a quality assurance program that ensures our operators are meeting expectations on every call they handle. And between our dedicated dealer support department and our business development team our dealers always have someone to lean on for support, seven days a week.
Guardian: We’re not gimmicky. We don’t embrace the idea of giving away “a $100 Visa gift card, 15 sensors, and a partridge in a pear tree” to generate a sale. Our daily funding, financial stability, one-on-one attention and best-in-class monitoring service are key highlights of our program.
Honeywell: The unique networking events. Our MyCONNECT Express meetings are regional meetings, where we travel to several locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, while gathering with smaller groups to share best practices. In November, we hold our annual CONNECT event — where our dealers get the opportunity to attend educational sessions, listen to keynote speakers and network at a series of social events. We have a Dealer Advisory Council and Marketing Advisory Board.
MONI: In the words of Ben Brookhart of Power Home Technologies [a MONI Authorized Dealer]: “The main thing that really separates MONI from every other program out there is relationships … a great group of people that genuinely care about your business.”
Russound: RCI is a two-pronged effort that offers both exclusive rights to install Russound products and a treasure trove of training and support materials that are accessible 24/7, including a growing collection of nearly two dozen training videos and other resources that are exclusively available to RCI dealers, distributors, and installers.
Dynamark: The definition of the usual dealer program is, “sell me your accounts, but NEVER talk to the customer again”. As a PARTNER program, we encourage the alarm company to have a continued relationship with the end-user. After all, how can we take care of the customer better than the company that sold and installed the system? We encourage and pay the partner to service the sold customer, upsell them more equipment and services, and even get the referred leads.
4) What marketing & technical support does your program offer?
Bosch: Easy access to co-op funds and makes the spending of these funds smart, simple and easy. A dedicated program manager together with a team of marketing specialists is available via phone, chat or email to help dealers navi-ate and engage with the web portal.
CMS: CMS has a dedicated tech support department, with nine representatives. We have custom print marketing available in a variety of styles, colors, and themes. These are available for customization with dealers’ logo and contact information. Myalarms.com is an online portal available for end users; this website can be customized, at no additional charge, with a dealer’s name and logo.
Guardian: Guardian offers its dealers two ways to ways to go-to-market: the dealer can sell and install (traditional business model) or can focus solely on selling and let Guardian’s own technicians handle the installation for them (nontraditional business model). Our proprietary “PartnerWeb” tool builds apps and shells that allow the dealer to bring new customers online easily, including EchoSign electronic document signature capability at no charge. Our web-based “DART” service takes the mystery out of managing accounts and funding, letting dealers get real-time status on their accounts and to communicate on resolution of any issues.
Honeywell: Logo usage and branding support; co-op program; rebate program; marketing development funds; and custom Honeywell Authorized Dealer-branded marketing materials.
MONI: Our marketing support includes: MONI PROSHOP, our online store that allows MONI dealers to download door-to-door, direct mail, home show materials and more. A ready-made website template can be customized with your brand through thryv.com. Our dealers can proactively get reviews from happy customers online through our Podium system, which can track progress with actionable insights; respond directly to customers; and reach the platforms that matter to you most. Technical support includes our eContract, which eliminates traditional and cumbersome hard-copy customer contracts.
Russound: RCI dealers have access to 20 webinar classes to date, featuring over 45 hours of video instruction and product overviews. Also, Russound provides background materials that may be incorporated in sales proposals and marketing materials.
Dynmark: We have an two websites dedicated to each relationship: www.dynamarkmonitoring.com for the dealer, and www.dynamarkpartner.com for the partner. There they can get access to a myriad of training and marketing materials, and we will even help design marketing materials at no cost to them. It’s our desire that they build their own brand across their community.
5) Does your company provide funding or buy accounts?
Bosch: Bosch rewards its dealers with co-op marketing funds based on annual sales. These are credits linked to a dealer’s Marketing on Demand account.
CMS: We don’t provide funding/buy accounts; however, we have strong partnerships with many companies who do.
Guardian: Yes, it is the primary goal of our program. We buy accounts and we fund daily. Every part of our program — from the well-honed processes, to the supportive technical platforms, to the Guardian resources who are dedicated to our dealers’ success — they’re all geared to the purchase and funding of accounts.
MONI: Absolutely. We pride ourselves in providing funding in a fast, easy and efficient way. We have an entire team dedicated to getting a dealer’s accounts online and funded in seven days or less.
Dynamark: We both offer a funding program and a loan program. Our philosophy is for the dealer to grow their own business and their own brand. We encourage their independence. That’s why it is important that they not sell all their accounts. Over the course of time we applaud the dealer/partner when they are completely self-funded and are no longer selling all their accounts to us. A strong independent dealer makes for a strong partnership.
6) How does your company acclimate new dealers to the program?
Bosch: Every new BASD receives a welcome email and welcome package with information to get started with the program. In addition, one or more on-boarding calls are held to assist dealers.
CMS: From the day a dealer’s paperwork is approved, our onboarding and conversion process is nearly seamless. Our dedicated New Dealer team will have multiple roundtable discussions prior to any conversion to ensure new dealers are comfortable with the process. Once onboarding is complete, a dedicated dealer support representative will follow up every month.
Guardian: We call it our SWAT approach because it is highly tactical and structured for success, yet extremely responsive to dealers’ needs. Our SWAT team travels to the dealer’s headquarters and, if it’s near one of our corporately-owned branches, we’ll utilize that location as well to give our dealer a true feel for the Guardian culture and processes. This is when we assist the dealer in building the PartnerWeb apps and shells, and we often bring members of our in-house Learning & Development team to shadow the dealer’s technicians. The SWAT orientation also includes a period in which Guardian’s Technical Field Support Group assists the dealer in fulfilling expectations related to servicing the customer in the initial 90-day period while also introducing exciting revenue-building opportunities.
Honeywell: Our Dealer Development Group (DDG) is a dedicated support team with years of industry and dealer experience. This group visits the dealers’ offices and provides specialized training sessions on business planning and management. They also assist with goal setting, new business model deployment, leadership workshops, hiring best practices, as well as compensation planning. Lastly, the dealers in our program also receive a dedicated number for priority tech support.
MONI: The training never stops with our MONI | U program. Dealers have an opportunity to learn about everything from hiring quality employees to using our tools like eContract to sell effectively. MONI X — this training event is a huge benefit. Industry experts lead in-depth courses in operations, sales and marketing. And MONI has partnered with Grant Cardone, renowned author, motivational speaker and sales trainer, to deliver a customized training program for MONI Authorized Dealers.
Russound: Newcomers are sent a welcome e-package with an introductory letter and links to essential training videos and other resources that are exclusively available to RCI dealers and installers.
Dynamark: For the wholesale dealer, we have on-demand tutorials that allow them to walk through every step of onboarding their in-house accounts. We also offer live webinars should they prefer that option. For the authorized partners, they are required to attend a two-day boot camp to learn the process and ensure they succeed in the program. It’s their last step in the due diligence process, and ensures that they are serious about the partnership.
Read on for the next 4 questions as well as a directory of dealer programs…
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